Arkansas is a corrupt state. A place of venal and crafty narcs and politicians. Read 'Van Buren County, Arkansas' in HOAX for this author's overview.
As with all police states, the prison population grows because that's what a police state does to its victims and enemies; warehouses them at public expense.
While the rest of the states are starting to cut back on expanding prison population simply out of fiscal concerns, Arkansas leads the pack in expansion and most of those new prisoners are drug offenders. Arkansas is bucking the popular trend of lightening up on the drug issue because they know the simple public still buys into the war on drug fantasy that has worked so well for so many years.
In 2007, the narcs lead by Shirley Arkansas narco and now mayor Johnny Sowell, fabricated what they called a $5,000,000 marijuana grow and alleged the ringleader to be a local man by the name of Joe Honea. Joe didn't know what a joint looked like but DEA agent Sowell got lots of press with the accusation, arrest and long (long) process of going to trail.
In an amazing turn around for the federal bench, the judge in Honea's case, though he could not reverse the 'guilty' verdict handed down by an ignorant jury led astray by deceptive tactics, reduced the sentence (which could have been 15 years) to 'time served' -- a total of two weeks in jail.
Such bravery by a federal judge is very rare. Click here to read what the judge had to say about all this. Still, in the main, the travesty goes on.
In 2009, the Arkansas prison population increased by an average of 114 people a month. An 3.3% increase. Interestingly, the federal prison system (BOP) continues to rise exponentially also whilst the federal bench orders certain states (California for one) to reduce the size of their population. The BOP is about 40% over capacity. Mostly drug cases, and most of them for marijuana. ~~~